QUICK WEDDINGS – Your ultimate guide to the perfect day


Your ultimate guide to the perfect day

Rachel - Wedding planner at Cote How Lake District Weddings


How To Plan a Quick Wedding

Elopement weddings are a rising trend, and micro-weddings are ever popular. With such hectic lifestyles, we all think seriously about what to spend our energy, time and money on.

Since the pandemic, you might be more inclined to live ‘in the moment’.

Whatever the reason, deciding to have a quick (or short notice) wedding does not mean compromising on your big day!

The local Registry Office and a Civil Partnership are a perfect fit for some couples, but there are Seven Steps to achieving last-minute wedding heaven if you are looking for something a little more bespoke…

Eloped in the Lakes for a quick wedding at Cote How
An Adventurers Elope at the majestic Rydal Caves

Step 1 – Decide what you want… have the courage of your convictions

When planning a quick wedding, be decisive and brave. Be clear about what you want from your wedding day from the outset.

Talk to each other about your non-negotiables and what really matters to you. Try not to be influenced by family and friends; consider what will make your wedding day happy and relaxed, and write it down. Letting go of the pressures wedding couples can feel is liberating!

Decide on the basics – your budget, guest list and when you can have time off work. Think about whether to share your special day with loved ones or if it will be just the two of you.

Once these decisions are made, tackle the next steps with confidence.

Just married couple arranged their quick wedding in Rydal at Cote How
How to plan your quick wedding

Step 2 – Do your research

For some, a long engagement is essential for practical reasons. But you just want to get married – and the sooner, the better!

First, you need to find your perfect licensed venue and provisionally book a date. How do you choose a venue for a quick wedding?

Do your research to avoid wasting everyone’s time if you are not a ‘good fit’. Perhaps start looking at locations that you have a special connection with.

Search for venues that specialise in last-minute weddings, especially if you are eloping in secret, as then you’ll have an experienced team to confide in for support.

Just married in a quick wedding ceremony at Cote How then an adventure to Rydal Caves for photographs
Choose an amazing location where you have created memories or that inspires you

Step 3 – Teamwork makes the dream work!

Choosing your last-minute wedding venue is like choosing a partner… don’t keep trying others once you’ve found the one! If it feels right, then it usually is. When choosing your venue, there are three ‘golden rules’ for success:

  • Be honest about your budget – it saves a lot of heartache.
  • Be flexible if you have your heart set on a particular venue. Wedding planners really want your day to be perfect, so have faith they know best what works well.
  • Commit to the process. You’ll sail through by setting aside time, little and often, for ‘wedding admin’ and checking emails.
Wedding couple choosing their wedding venue for a short notice wedding

Step 4 – Be a Legal Eagle

With your date and ceremony time reserved by your venue, contact your local Registry Office to book the Registrar. You need to give 29 days’ notice to marry, taking specific paperwork with you to the appointment. In England and Wales, you’ll need to reside in one of those countries for at least seven days prior to giving notice.

Notice is valid for 12 months, and your local council website has information about all the fees payable. You will need a minimum of 5 weeks to get married quickly, unless in the most extenuating circumstances. 

Fun Wedding - Splashing in the lake at Rydal Water
Have fun on your wedding day, take a splash in Rydal Water!

Step 5 – Are you a Checklist Champion?

The countdown really begins once your venue and ceremony are booked, you’ve paid your deposit, and it’s all official!

So how do you make sure that nothing is overlooked when the clock is ticking? A checklist is a brilliant tool for all short-notice wedding couples. Working steadily through a list of important things ‘to do’ will give you confidence and avoid any unwelcome surprises on the day.

Remember to keep revisiting the list of priorities you made at the start of your wedding planning journey…if it’s not on the list, you don’t need it!

Sustainable Wedding ideas - Using locally handmade gifts for your favours
Choosing local or sustainable products reflects you as a couple personally

Step 6 – Get All Your Wedding Ducks in a Row

Some decisions you make can save so much time. Choose a venue that is ‘wedding ready’.  All you do is order outfits, rings and invite any guests.

Use a website, email, or WhatsApp to share information with guests rather than printing invitations.

Support a charity rather than giving wedding favours and ask guests to donate instead of bringing a gift; their company on the day is enough!

A pre-loved dress is a budget-friendly, sustainable option that’s good to go.

Ask expert advice from your venue about transport and places to stay locally. Finally, consider homemade touches – flowers from a friend’s garden can be beautifully simple.

Bride holding a hand tied dried flower bouquet
A simple hand-tied dried bouquet in colours to reflect the Lake District landscape

Step 7 – Spread the Love

Quick weddings can mean a smaller, more intimate occasion, as the fewer people involved, the easier to organise.

A short-notice wedding or last-minute elopement can still include loved ones who aren’t at your ceremony. Your photographer will capture magical moments to share later, or you can throw a party once you’re married to prolong your ‘wedding bubble’.  

Ask loved ones to write a personal reading you can bring to your ceremony. Or why not have the whole family stay on holiday close to your venue – they can dress up and be ready when you and your photographer return to be part of your extended wedding day!

Wedding couple celebrating their quick wedding at Cote how on Rydal Water
Weddings made quick easy and simple by expert wedding planning guides!

So, there we are… Seven Steps to (Quick) Wedding Heaven. Keep the faith and stay true to your last-minute wedding hopes and dreams. Your wedding, your way, will create the most perfect day.


If you’ve enjoyed this blog, we’d love to hear your comments in the box below. Feel free to share if you know someone else who’d love it too!

You might also be interested in finding out more about booking a short-notice wedding with these other blogs:



Or why not check out our short-notice wedding benefits and available wedding dates here:

Enquire with the registrars today for their availability to come to Cote how to officiate your ceremony on 0300 373 3300 – Or read their website for more information on arranging a quick wedding

Thanks to:

Photography: Jo Greenfield
Venue: Cote How
Hair/Make-up/Florists – Various – See our Wedding Suppliers

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